Allhumduillah (All praise and thanks are due to God) we just had our early morning breakfast termed Suhoor and just prayed our most earliest prayer termed Fajr. As I am waiting for the prayer to start I happen to find a small space in the front line next to a white-beard older man. Not paying attention to who it was especially since they seemed busy reading something from memory I sat down quietly and started reciting some verses of the Quran myself. After a few minutes the older man taps my thigh and when I look over I noticed it’s my Quran Teacher!
For those of you who are unaware of what I’m referring to here’s a small sentence of background. Most Muslims growing up will at some point at in their life learn how to the read the Holy Quran in arabic from a teacher. As kids we found it to be a rigorous process but as many converts/reverts embark on the same journey it’s actually not that hard as they have mentioned. Usually it’s like a afterschool program you could say. Some kids had swimming classes after school others had karate classes, I ,on the other hand had Arabic Quran classes. I would learn to read,and recognize the letters of the Arabic quran and be able to pronounce and recite them properly. Note, we never learned what they mean and would have to reply on translations as that process is much more longer.
Back to the prayer, so as I am sitting there next to my Quran teacher of some 15 years ago I felt a great awe in my heart for Him. This was the blessed man who taught me how to connect the different letters of Quran one to another, this was the man who taught me how to pronounce each vowel, this was the man who would teach me the proper etiquette of reading the Quran (adab aka manners), this was the man who put up with me day after day showing little to no progress over the course of many years, this was that Man I was sitting next to. I felt a great deal of shukr (thankfulness) as I sat next to Him as a older student now feeling as though I am still in need His instruction.
Then what happened next did it for me. Our usual Imam (religious scholar) who leads the prayer didn’t make it to the early dawn prayer (fajr) in time. So the congregation asked my Quran teacher to lead the pray, so he accepted. He used to be the Imam of this masjid (mosque) when I was a younger boy but because of different complications he had to resign.
So as He raised his hands to begin the prayer and said those powerful words “AllahuAkbar” (God is the Greatest) I felt like I was taken back 10 years in the past. It was one of the best nostalgic feelings ever to hear my old teacher who I looked up to for much wisdom and guidance lead me in prayer once again after years of absence. His calm soothing recitation, with the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness to Him and to my Lord just broke me down completely.
I was happy to see him yet also sad. I could see that age had caught up with him drastically over the years. And his voice wasn’t the same crisp voice as it was in my young years rather it had a tremble and vibration in it. Seeing and hearing his state really got to me. It reminded me of the statement the arch angel Jibrieal (as) (Gabrieal) who said to the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) that, ” Love whoever you want but know that one day you will have to leave them” (paraphrased). Either the one you love will pass before you or you yourself will pass before their eyes.
I look forward to that day when I see him again, My quran teacher, in his prime young years in Jannat (Paradise) in the afterlife. I pray that God allows us both to reach Paradise in the highest of stations. Ameen (Oh God Accept).